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Sunday, February 25, 2024
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Babe Ruth Rookie Card Sets Player Record at $7.2M

  • A baseball trading card from 1914 depicting a rookie Babe Ruth playing for the minor-league Baltimore News sold at auction for $7.2 million.
  • It’s the most expensive piece of Ruth memorabilia and the third-most-expensive baseball card ever sold.
A view of a 1914 Baeb Ruth rookie card in a protective casing from the Sportscard Guaranty Company.
Robert Edwards Auctions

Babe Ruth often created baseball history when he stepped foot on the diamond. Now, almost 110 years after his professional baseball debut, one of his baseball cards is making history again.

On Monday, a baseball trading card from 1914 depicting a rookie Ruth playing for the minor-league Baltimore News sold at auction for $7.2 million — the most expensive piece of Ruth memorabilia ever sold.

“It’s miraculous that this card exists,” said P.J. Kinsella, communications director at Robert Edward Auctions, which brokered the sale. “He was on the Orioles for a few months and, by the end of [1914], he was in Providence. That he’s encapsulated in this set, not knowing what he would become … it’s rather remarkable that he’s on this card.”

The Ruth card’s final sale price fell just short of the $7.25 million paid for the famed T206 Honus Wagner last year. Both cards are still well below the record for a sports card set by a 1952 Mickey Mantle rookie card, which sold for $12.6 million in 2022.

The Babe Ruth piece was graded a 3 by card grader Sportscard Guaranty Company; in contrast, SGC rated the record Mantle card 9.5.

Although the Ruth card coming in as the third-most-expensive baseball card of all time should be nothing but an accomplishment, it could be a disappointment for REA, which had initially expected the card to sell somewhere in the range of $10 million.

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